Pioneer DV-434: You Get What You Pay For

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert George, Aug 2, 2000.

  1. Robert George

    Robert George Screenwriter

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    I'm going to cut right to the chase. If there is anyone out there with visions of getting a thousand dollar progessive DVD player for $299, forget it. The Pioneer DV-434 ain't that. It is exactly what it is, a $299 DVD player that outputs a 31.5kHz (read; progressive) video signal. Okay, it's $399 retail, but who pays retail. Here's a few details.
    For reference, the test bed is a Pioneer Elite PRO-710HD 16:9 monitor with a Toshiba SD-6200 progressive DVD player and a Panasonic DVD-A320 standard DVD player as comparative players. Video is fed to the monitor via component video from all three players. The monitor has a built-in line doubler for standard 15.75kHz video sources. This line doubler does perform reverse telecine (3:2 pulldown) on film sources.
    The big issue is whether or not this player is what is referred to as "true" progressive, that is, one that reads the frame flags in the MPEG bitstream and reconstructs the original 24fps film frame rate by reversing the 3:2 pulldown that occurs in telecine. Based on my observation, I do NOT think the DV-434 is a true progressive player. The video performance of the DV-434 looks very much like the average line doubler found in (better) progressive scan television monitors. In fact, the standard Panasonic DVD-A320 through the PRO-710's internal line doubler looks better than the DV-434 in progressive mode. Most noticeable is inter-line flicker and some instability of sharp horizontal lines. Comparing the performance of the DV-434 to the SD-6200 with both in progressive mode is no comparison at all. The Tosh stomps the Pioneer in every respect.
    Other performance characteristics of the 434 that are not necessarily related to the line doubler are an overall softness of the image and lack of fine detail with notably less image depth compared to the Toshiba. The Toshiba looks nearly 3-D compared to the "flatter", less contrasty look of the Pioneer. I credit the 54mHz video DACs (the 434 has 27mHz DACs) and the 4:4:4 video processing of the Tosh with the very noticeable performance advantage. Is it unfair to compare a $400 player to a $1200 player? Perhaps, but it does offer one a frame of reference. All progressive scan DVD players are now quite obviously not created equal and one should be aware there is no such thing as a free lunch (or perhaps even a cheap one).
    A few other points that may be of interest. The DV-434 does not offer aspect ratio control similar to features in the SD-6200 or the very expensive Panasonic DVD-H1000. What the Pioneer engineers have come up with is something called "Auto Progressive" mode which automatically switches the output of the player to interlaced when a non-enhanced disc is played. This features works much like that of some computer based DVD players. This allows those with monitors like the current Pioneers that normally lock into "full" mode when a progressive signal is present to use the monitor's other screen modes. When playing a disc that switches between non-enhanced and enhanced, such as from a menu to the actual movie, the switch in the signal is very noticeable with some on-screen distortion as the monitor re-syncs the signal. One can also select either interlaced or progressive from the setup menu.
    The other features of the player are standard Pioneer. Quick menu access and easy setup menu navigation make setting up the player the first time a snap. Downconversion performance for 4:3 monitors seems to be the same as other recent models from Pioneer, which is quite good, relative to other models.
    If one is considering the DV-434 for its progressive scan capability, I do not recommend this model. Many of the newest progressive scan 16:9 monitors have internal line doublers that at least equal the performance of the DV-434 progressive mode. Although Pioneer gets points for attempting to bring high performance video to a wider market, they have only proved the old adage. You get what you pay for.
    Robert
     
  2. Hal M

    Hal M Agent

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    Robert,
    Thanks for your eagerly awaited comments on the 434. I had hoped early reports might be false, but alas... No Pioneer 434 for me. So... could you (or anyone) tell me the difference between the Tosh 5109 and the 6200? What exactly does 4:4:4 video processing do?
    Hal
     
  3. Darrel McBane

    Darrel McBane Second Unit

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    Looks like a summer without Progressive scan. Now I'll have to wait for Pioneers Elite line of DVD or an announcement from Sony. Thanks for the review Robert!
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  4. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    DAM DAM DAM! Gosh, i was really hoping Pioneer would pull thru and do something good for the Home Theater enthusiast, but i guess NOT! They should be hanged im so upset with Pioneer.
    Dam why couldnt they just come out with a high priced REAL progressive player like Toshiba?
    I hope someone does answer the question tho, whats the difference between the 6200 and the 5109? Is the 5109 still a good progressive player? Is the 6200 worth the price over the 5109 for those like me who have a HDTV, but not a true 16x9 set?
    And thanks for your review Obi.
     
  5. Chris Maynard

    Chris Maynard Supporting Actor

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    Darrel - Why not the 5109 or the 6200?
    Both are top performers. In fact Obi bought his 6200 after watching my 5109.
     
  6. John Chao

    John Chao Auditioning

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    I can understand your frustrations with the Pioneer standard line of products... but don't fret, the Elite line has yet to fail even the most discriminating A/V enthusiasts.. the new Pioneer Elite DVD players will be hitting the market in early September. The models will be called the DV34 and the DV?? ( I don't remember!! aaahh!) Anyhow.. the DV34 will be the new reference model which will be offered at $900, and the second unit will also be a progressive unit but will offer a 5 disc capability.. (probably similar to the DV434, but don't take my word for it)it's less money than the DV34.. running $500.
    Sony as of 4months ago was against making progressive scan DVD players.. they did not make one in their new line of players and i'll probably find out more about Sony products in the like 7hrs from now (Sony rep will be down here in Lauderdale and i'll be attending). IMHO I believe that they feel that their DRC (digital reality creation) technology is the way to go.
     
  7. Mike I

    Mike I Supporting Actor

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    Robert
    Thanks for a detailed and great review..To me this is both good and bad news..The good news it answers and confirms alot of questions about the 434 in previous threads..The bad news (for me anyway) is I am a huge proponent of progressive scan in practically every topic area of this forum ,I am constantly recommending it as the only way to view dvd if you have an hd ready set...It really bothers me that a company with the excellent reputation of Pioneer would try to pass this off as a " true progressive" player.( yes I was called to the mat in a previous thread for using the word true progessive, but it is what it is")I really do not want to see anyone investing in a player thinking they are going to get spectecular progressive scan images and be disappointed...Again the CEA better start policing themselves..THis entire area of new technology whether it be DVD, HDTV, hd ready is confusing enough for someone just tring to get into it....
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  8. Mike I

    Mike I Supporting Actor

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    Henry
    With either the 5109 or 6200 you can not go wrong...THe 6200 has some more features than the 5109, but for the most part the difference in picture quality in negledgable to none....good luck
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  9. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the review Obi. It looks like there won't be a Pioneer 434 in my future--it's too bad, because I love my 414. I'll just sit and wait and see what the Elite line brings us. I'd love to see one with true scaling so those of us with Pioneer or earlier Mits 16:9 sets (I have a 46805) don't have to watch non-anamorphic DVDs in interlaced.
    But, if Pioneer (Elite) doesn't come through, my next player will be a Toshiba 6200.
    KJP
     
  10. Darrel McBane

    Darrel McBane Second Unit

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    Chris:
    My main reservation on the Toshiba's have been how they handle non-anamorphic material on my 16X9 Mitsubishi. I may talk to a local brick and mortar to see about giving a 6200 a demo. But knowing that Pioneers new line of DVD players were working to handle non-anamorphic movies in a interlaced mode makes me think it's time to wait...again! I still think Sony will come out with some wiz bang machine this year, we'll see.
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  11. David Still

    David Still Auditioning

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    Fence-sitters,
    I just got the 6200 for my Mits 16x9 (55905). I too was sitting on the fence because of the scaling issue. Realize that the 6200 will put side-bars on non-anamorphic in progressive mode, so 4x3 DVDs are not a problem. That leaves widescreen non-anamorphics only to viewed in interlace mode (unless you like watching a little box in the middle of your screen). Three things to consider:
    1. How many widescreen non-anamorphics do you watch? For me, that's less than 5% of the DVDs I rent from Netflix (over 50 in the last 5 months).
    2. Interlaced on the 6200 isn't that bad!
    3. It's easy to switch back and forth, since interlaced goes over the same component outputs as progressive. No extra cables (like with the 5109), and all it takes is a button press.
    These factors made me get the 6200, no looking back! Eventually you will get the same quality for much less $, but how long do you want to waste the shelf-life of your beautiful progressive 16x9 TV watching interlaced?
    My 2 cents,
    Dave
     
  12. Dan Smith

    Dan Smith Agent

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    All of this is GREAT news for me. I just bought my Pioneer 525 three months ago, and when the 434 came out I could not help but feel ripped off. I’ll keep saving up for a true progressive player.
    Anyone know the difference between Toshiba's 5109 and their 9100, besides the ~$500 price dif.?
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    ...It's better to burn-out than fade away...
     
  13. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    There was a thread here a couple days ago reporting a Sony ES progressive scan DVD/SACD/CD single-disc player. I couldn't find it on the two pages of threads available here today. One can probably search for it. The person who posted it here included a picture from Sony's Japanese web site. The player shown is champagne gold and looks pretty cool. I'm not sure when it will be out, but it will be Sony first DVD player with an ES designation. It might replace the DVP-S7700. However, it will be quite expensive, so maybe Sony will either keep the 7700 or come out with another reference-type DVD player that isn't progressive scan or SACD-compatible to keep the cost down.
     
  14. Cary

    Cary Stunt Coordinator

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  15. abdul hamid

    abdul hamid Auditioning

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  16. Hal M

    Hal M Agent

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    I posted this on another thread as well:
    Once again, does anyone know what the 4:4:4 video processing on the 6200 does that the 5109 does not?
    And does anyone know if the Tosh TW56X81 has more than one component in, or do I have to switch cables to view interlaced, or won't I ever need to view interlaced again? I know the Toshiba's DON'T lock into full mode. Would that mean EVERYTHING would be viewable progressive from anamorphic to non-anamorphic widescreen to 4:3?
    Hal
     
  17. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  18. Mark Fontana

    Mark Fontana Stunt Coordinator

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    Hal, these 4:4:4, 4:2:0 etc. designations have always been confusing. What 4:4:4 means in English is this: normally on a DVD, there is a unit of luminance (brightness) (Y) information for every pixel (720x480 in NTSC). The color difference signals (Cb/Cr) are SHARED across groups of two pixels in the horizontal direction and two pixels in the vertical direction. That is, while there is luminance information for EVERY pixel, there is only unique COLOR information for every 2x2 block of pixels, so the color resolution of a DVD is 1/4 that of the luminance information. This is known as 4:2:0. You can think of it as the luminance being represented by a 720x480 image but the color information being represented by a 360x240 image laid on top.
    The D1 digital videotape masters from which DVDs are encoded are 4:2:2. Cb/Cr color information is shared for every two pixels in the horizontal direction only, with a unique value for each pixel in the vertical direction. That is, the brightness is represented by a 720x486 image and the color information is represented by a 360x486 image. (D1 has 486 vertical lines instead of 480 because DVD masks off 6 lines to have an even multiple of 8 for the MPEG algorithm.)
    4:4:4 is the best. Both luminance and color are represented by a 720x480 image. DVD players that advertise 4:4:4 processing are taking the 360x240 color information on the DVD and scaling it to 720x480. It's desirable to work in 4:4:4 for the sake of accuracy but it's not like promoting to 4:4:4 is going to pull extra color detail out of the DVD, because it was never there to begin with. If you followed my explanation above, you see that 4:4:4 has twice the color resolution of the 4:2:2 sources from which DVDs are mastered. Yet, like I said, the player can't create information that was never there. But if the player's upsampling algorithm makes a good guess at creating color information for the inbetween pixels, this could result in a slightly smoother picture in areas where the color changes sharply. So, there is some benefit to having this feature, but the differences will be subtle.
     
  19. Robert George

    Robert George Screenwriter

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    Mark:
    Thanks for that explanation. My technical knowledge of how this processing affected DVD is very limited. I knew DVD is 4:2:0, but I was not sure how the 4:4:4 processing Toshiba claims to have was affecting the picture, except that it is the best DVD picture I have ever seen.
     
  20. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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